Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Lyrical conversations

One night, upon being suitably stressed (due to an unending stream of work) and drunk (to get over the stress by having a couple of pints while I worked), I realized that the most important messages for humanity was not going to come from outer space. All kinds of messages already exist amidst us, in a form not yet recognised -- song lyrics. Musicians, being more sensitive and stoned than normal human beings, have been conversing with each other through lyrics of their songs, asking questions important to the human race and answering them. I have been able to discover some of their conversations, which are reproduced below for your benefit. The list, I must add, is far from complete, and these days I am working on full fledged conversations, not just Q/A sessions.

Q. BTW, which one's pink?
A. Pink isn't well, he's staying back at the hotel.
Pink Floyd ask a question and answer it themselves.

Q. How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?
A. There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there's still time to change the road you are on.
Bob Dylan asks, Led Zep answer.

Q. Are you going to Scarborough fair?
A. What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys. See you later. Can I have them please?
Paul Simon asks, is given an answer by Harry Chapin.

Q. Have I told you lately?
A. Shut up and dance.
Rod Stewart asks Aerosmith.

Q. Where have all the cowboys gone?
A. Everybody's hustling for a buck and a dime.
Paula Cole and John Lennon talk.

Q. Have you ever seen the rain?
A. The Sun is cold, the rain is hot.
CCR versus CCR.

Q. Hey, Andy, did you hear about this one?
A. All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest.
REM catches up with Paul Simon.

Q. Who wants to live forever?
A. I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.
Queen asks the eternal question. ABBA answer.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Drained of colour...

Some of my favourite black and white pics... I love the medium. It is so emotive -- when the human eye is not confused by lots of colours, the mind can perceive better the shapes and lighting of the scene. I am not claiming that it is not possible to take coloured pictures. On the contrary, it is more difficult to conceive an aesthetically pleasing coloured shot. However, I am biased towards the monochromatic medium.

This is actually a coloured image that I digitally desaturated. I like it better than the original version. A tea mug that someone left on the window sill in my old office.

My favourite Goa, yet again.

Shyam, a waiter at an Irani cafe that we frequent on weekends. This is not a candid shot -- I asked him to sit at the table and look outside, but he kept staring at the camera.

People on street. I just like the way people sit on the ground in India. It is very rustic and endearing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Age no bar?

I have decided to jot down some of my best campus memories before I forget things, on account of my age and all. I was lucky to have made a lot of friends in college. Their traits covered the entire gamut of human behaviour, resulting in many incidents which are noteworthy. Here goes...

I was a hostelite, thank God. Everyone should stay in a hostel for some time of their lives. It teaches people values like tolerance (how not to whack the living daylights out of your irritating roomie), discernment (how to tell when your roomie is about to whack the living daylights out of you), financial management (how to save just enough money for that desperate phone call home), socializing (make a large group of friends so that there is at least one fallback when the most nerdy person inexplicably fails -- that idiot -- to finish the assignments so that others can copy it) and tact (how to sneak into your friends room, remove the blades of the fan and put them back upturned, and still not to burst into laughter when he complains about how it is getting warmer everyday). In our first year, due to paucity of space, two people were made to share one room (from second year onwards we got individual rooms). Things got complicated occasionally when completely matchless personalities, people who should have stayed single and never got married... wait a minute, I've mixed up two thoughts. Yeah, interesting situations came to happen when the duo in question happened to be incompatible.

There were these two guys, we shall call them 001 and 002 (a very intelligent nomenclature, in case I ever have to narrate a story involving more than 99 guys demanding anonymity), the mismatch of whose personalities was very subtle -- they didn't like each other. 001 liked studying late into the night. 002 was a staunch believer in the early to bed philosophy. 001 liked to study with music playing. 002 had the exact musical sense of his wooden bed, which he went to sleep on early every night. 001 liked Pete Sampras, while 002 favoured Agassi. Alright, I made the last one up, but they were not the best of friends. Anyway, one day the situation got so bad that there was a showdown between the two. 001 called 002 many unmentionable body parts. 002 retaliated by pointing out how, coincidentally, 001 resembled the ones he forgot to name. In a very Hindi movie fashion, they decided to divide the territory in their room. They didn't, however, think everything through and 001 decided to keep turning the light bulb on and off the whole night because, hey, the switch was on his side of the room. Right? 002 was fuming the whole next day. That night, when 001 came back to the room after dinner, at 10:30 in the night, 002 had removed the light bulb and holder -- they happened to be on his side of the room. Right?

I met an old friend from hostel today. It felt funny. You expect to see the same person, but everybody ages, thereby making you aware that you probably don't look the same you did in college. Some people handle getting older well, but some don't. Even though I don't throw a tantrum about getting old, I don't like the fact that I am hurtling towards an age where I won't be able to do a lot of things just on account of not being young enough anymore. It is a very scary thought for a sports maniac like me -- I have been playing tennis, badminton and running long distances even though I have a torn ligament in my right knee since the summer of 2002. I can't give any of these activities my 100%, though. The other day I came across the DVD for Chariots of Fire and I sorely missed running fast. I haven't sprinted since 2002, and you can't even begin to imagine what a nightmare it is for me. I feel like my synapses are frying because my idiotic brain can't comprehend the fact that my knee is not longer together and keeps sending signals to my leg muscles to try and do what my knee won't support, but I don't follow the orders. I have decided to get operated this June, come what may. And then it's off to Himalayas next summer. Wheee. Which tells me that I am happy with my life these days. There was a time when nothing could cheer me up. In the words of Uriah Heep:

There I was on a July morning, I was looking for love...
With the strenght of a new day dawning, and the beautiful Sun.
At the sound of the first bird singing, I was leaving for home...
With the storm and the night behind me, and a road of my own.
With the day came the resolution... I’ll be looking for you
I was looking for love In the strangest places
Wasn’t a stone that I left unturned.
Must have tried more than a thousand faces
But not one was aware of the fire that burned.

It is a horrible feeling, to be alone in this world of six billion people, and feeling that nobody cares for you. If it lasts too long, it can leave a permanent mark on you. I see the same signs in some fellow bloggers whose blogs I frequent. I sincerely hope they don't go through it as long as I did. I can't feel some of the emotions anymore due to having hurt for so long. I have hardened and I hope they don't ossify like I did.

There, started with a happy post, and ended on a poignant note...

Have a great week (because that's the frequency of my blogging).

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Goan sea

I love Goa. I studied in Bombay for four years and planned on visiting it many times, but never did. After my final year exams I, along with two others, even booked tickets to Goa but had to back out because of a severe injury.

Finally, in 2002, I managed to visit the place with Emily. I instantly fell in love with the place, for the following reasons:

i) Natural beauty
ii) King's beer (Rs. 20 for a pint)
iii) Laidback lifestyle
iv) King's beer (Rs. 20 for a pint)
v) Great beaches with parties going on till late into the night
vi) King's beer (Rs. 20 for a pint)

You get the drift, don't you?

These are some of my favourite pictures of the Goan sea, shot over the four visits I have made thus far.

Goan fishing boat

This boat was just floating in the backwaters. I love the blue hues of sea water, and the shape of the boat. Shot on March 12th, 2002.

Island off Palolem beach

During low tide, one can actually walk to the island. Shot on February 14th, 2004, around dusk.

Fishermen come home at dusk

We were sitting in Ciaran's shack at Palolem beach and witnessed a beautiful sunset. I happened to have my camera handy. Shot on December 23rd, 2002.

Deck chairs at Majorda beach

I like this photo for its warmth, though my wife thinks it is a very average shot. She finds it emotionless, but I love the waves in the background. Shot on December 21st, 2002.

Fishing boat on Majorda beach

I went jogging early morning on Majorda beach and noticed these beautiful boats. Finished the run, came back, grabbed my camera, and went back to the beach for some shots. Most people don't like this shot, but I am partial towards it, maybe because I don't see the shot -- I see the place in its totality. Shot on December 21st, 2002.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Biscuits laced with formic acid...

The magnitude of poverty in India moves me. I, along with my wife, have a coffee at Barista every morning before I drop her off at the place where her office car picks her up from . It's our daily routine -- we have to have a coffee regardless of whether we value each other more than all the gold in ancient India on a particular day or whether we hate each other's guts. Anyway, our favourite coffee shop is located in one of the bylanes of Koregaon Park which I keep raving about all the time. There is a sprawling lawn outside the cafe, and a neat row of studio apartments on the side of the lawn. The place is called Sunderban Hotel. They have many employees whose duty is to keep the place clean.

This morning we watched a couple of people sweeping dried leaves off the parking lot. Someone had left a half eaten packet of biscuits there. These people picked it up, looked around to make sure nobody was watching, removed the ants from the biscuits and ate them.

My heart drops down to the pit of my stomach when I think of them. I would love for India to be a developed country where the poor people also have decent clothes to wear and at least two square meals a day, but that is not to be. India is not like that right now, and will never be.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

More yellow than Post-It notes?

I have come to sincerely believe that Indians are averse to taking risks. Especially when careers are involved.

I have my own startup company for developing engineering analysis software. Business is good. Work is challenging. Clients are humane. Growth is in the offing (we have more projects than people to do them). We have no competitors in India. Office is fun -- we go for snooker during power cuts, we quaff beer on Fridays, we poke fun at each other (as long as I am not the pokee). In short, I would have not thought twice if I had the opportunity to join such a company. But then, I don't think twice before doing most things. People do. We made excellent offers to two candidates, and they both turned them down after weeks and weeks of thinking.

Which made me jump to the conclusion that Indians are scaredy cats. Don't think so? Mail me your resume. :)